Turmeric powder is made from the ground roots of the turmeric plant, which is part of the ginger family. This bright yellow spice is commonly used in Indian and Asian cuisine, and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda.
Turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids that give the spice its vibrant color and provide numerous health benefits.
The most active curcuminoid in turmeric is curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Nutrition Facts of Turmeric Powder
Turmeric powder is packed with nutrients and potent plant compounds.
Here is how much nutrition can be found in a 1 teaspoon (3g) serving of turmeric powder:
- Calories: 9
- Fat: 0.1g
- Carbs: 2g
- Fiber: 0.7g
- Protein: 0.3g
Turmeric powder is a rich source of several vitamins and minerals, including:
- Manganese: 26% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Iron: 9% of the DV
- Potassium: 1% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
- Magnesium: 1% of the DV
It also contains trace amounts of phosphorus, copper, calcium and zinc.
In addition, turmeric contains various plant compounds like curcuminoids and volatile oils, which provide most of its health benefits.
Key Takeaway: One teaspoon of turmeric powder contains only 9 calories but provides 26% of the DV for manganese, 9% for iron and vitamin B6, and 1% for potassium, magnesium and other minerals. It's rich in curcuminoids and volatile oils.
Potential Health Benefits of Consuming Turmeric Powder
Research shows that turmeric and its active compound curcumin have many potential health benefits, largely due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Here are some of the top evidence-based health benefits of consuming turmeric powder regularly:
May Reduce Inflammation
Chronic inflammation contributes to many common diseases. Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that match or even exceed some anti-inflammatory drugs.
Without getting into biological specifics, curcumin can modulate many inflammatory molecules and pathways in the body. This helps reduce systemic inflammation.
Multiple studies in humans show that curcumin/turmeric extracts can relieve arthritis symptoms, improving pain and function in people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The anti-inflammatory effects may also help treat autoimmune conditions like inflammatory bowel disease.
May Improve Antioxidant Capacity
Oxidative stress caused by an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body contributes to accelerated aging and disease development.
Curcumin has been shown to neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure. It also boosts your body's innate antioxidant defenses.
Studies reveal that curcumin boosts levels of antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase, preventing oxidative damage and offering cardioprotective effects.
May Boost Brain Function and Mood
Curcumin's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may help improve brain function and symptoms of depression.
It can increase levels of BDNF, a brain hormone involved in nerve growth. One study showed curcumin improved attention, memory and mood scores in people with mild depression.
Curcumin may also delay or reverse cognitive decline in elderly people and those with neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's. However, human research is limited.
May Aid Arthritis Symptoms
Because of its potent anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric powder is traditionally used to treat arthritis symptoms.
Multiple studies have found that curcumin extracts help relieve joint inflammation and pain in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Supplementing with 1,000 mg of curcumin daily was even more effective than an anti-inflammatory prescription drug.
Curcumin also improves osteoarthritis symptoms. In one study, 1500 mg of curcumin reduced pain and stiffness and improved function in people with knee osteoarthritis.
May Support Heart Health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Curcumin's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help protect the cardiovascular system on multiple levels.
Studies show curcumin helps lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and prevents cholesterol oxidation, reducing plaque buildup in arteries. It also reduces inflammation, thrombosis and myocardial infarction risk.
One study in postmenopausal women found that taking 150 mg of curcumin daily for 8 weeks significantly improved arterial function and blood vessel elasticity.
May Aid Blood Sugar Control
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by impaired insulin sensitivity and high blood sugar. Human and animal studies indicate that curcumin improves insulin sensitivity and reduces blood sugar levels.
In one study in 240 prediabetic adults, 1500 mg of curcumin per day lowered the number of prediabetic individuals who went on to develop full-blown type 2 diabetes. It also improved function of pancreatic beta cells.
May Boost Immunity and Have Antibacterial Effects
Curcumin has been shown to enhance immune function and inhibit bacterial growth.
One study in healthy middle-aged people showed 500 mg of curcumin enhanced antibody responses to vaccination against pneumococcus bacteria, which cause pneumonia and meningitis.
Other research reveals that curcumin has antimicrobial effects against pathogenic bacteria like Listeria monocytogenes, Staph aureus and Helicobacter pylori. It may help treat stomach ulcers caused by an H. pylori infection.
May Promote Skin Health
When applied topically, curcumin has been shown to accelerate wound healing. Ointments containing curcumin can help treat skin sores and reduce psoriasis symptoms.
Oral curcumin may also protect against UVB radiation damage. One study in humans showed 2000 mg of curcumin per day minimized UV damage to the skin.
Curcumin seems to protect the skin by quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation. It may even help reverse visible signs of aging like wrinkles.
Key Takeaway: Research shows that turmeric and especially its active compound curcumin have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits that may improve numerous aspects of health.
How to Use Turmeric Powder in Cooking
Turmeric powder has an earthy, slightly bitter flavor. It brings a vibrant yellow-orange color to dishes. Here are some tips on using turmeric powder in recipes:
- Add a dash of turmeric to curries, lentils and soups for color and flavor. It goes well with most spices.
- Mix it into rice dishes like biryani or pilaf. Turmeric enhances the flavor.
- Add a pinch to yogurt-based marinades for meats and vegetables.
- Use it in salad dressings mixed with olive oil and lemon.
- Add turmeric to smoothies. Combine with ginger, cinnamon and black pepper for extra benefits.
- Make golden milk by warming up cow's or plant-based milk with turmeric powder, ginger, cinnamon and honey.
Does turmeric powder go bad?
Properly stored turmeric powder has a shelf life of 3-4 years. Keep it in a cool, dark place in an airtight container to maximize freshness. Signs of stale turmeric include loss of flavor and aroma.
What is the difference between turmeric and curcumin?
Turmeric is the ground root of the turmeric plant, which belongs to the ginger family. Curcumin is the most active compound found in turmeric that provides medicinal benefits. Commercial curcumin extracts usually have much higher concentrations of curcumin than turmeric powder.
Is it better to take turmeric or curcumin supplements?
Curcumin supplements can provide more potent therapeutic benefits compared to turmeric powders since they contain higher curcumin concentrations. However, curcumin has poor bioavailability on its own. Some turmeric powders are enhanced with piperine to improve absorption. Combining curcumin with turmeric may provide benefits of both.
How much turmeric powder should you take per day?
There is no standard dosage for turmeric powder. Most research studies use 500-2000 mg turmeric extracts or 50-100 mg isolated curcumin. Consuming turmeric in culinary doses is likely safe. Supplements may be justified for certain therapeutic purposes but require medical advice.
Can you substitute turmeric for ginger?
Turmeric and ginger both belong to the same plant family. But they have distinct flavors and should not be substituted for each other in recipes. Ginger tastes lemony and spicy, while turmeric is more earthy and bitter. Substitute 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ginger for every 1 teaspoon turmeric as an approximation.
Turmeric powder is an excellent source of curcumin, manganese, iron and fiber. Curcumin, its most active compound, has far-ranging benefits - from reducing inflammation to enhancing antioxidant status and brain function.
Adding small amounts of turmeric powder to your diet can provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant protection. Curcumin supplements have higher bioavailability but may have adverse effects at high doses.